It feels like there is an increased urgency to spread the Gospel of Christ and to walk in the way of the Lord. I’ve been talking to parents of older children to understand school programs and ways to educate children, and those discussions include their concern about what children are exposed to. Children are exposed to more much earlier, and we need to focus on raising our children in a way that is healthy and Christ-centered despite the Babylon living. A big part of this is how we live and how we raise our children, but also the messages we allow our children to be exposed to. We must be careful to instill core values such as right and wrong and a way to evaluate decision-making that is aligned with the word of God. In this, you have to be strong because you may get some pushback because you aren’t conforming to the ways of the world.
Think about the power of God-fearing parents. God gave King Solomon wisdom, riches, splendor, and more. He was truly one of a kind. Scripture says in 1 Kings 4:30 that, “Solomon’s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the people of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt.” However, with all of his wisdom, Solomon allowed moral failures to creep into his home and into his kingdom. He failed to practice what he preached, learned and knew to be true. He built an amazing temple but failed to truly follow God. He failed to keep the people’s focus on God and instead allowed the worship of false idols. He didn’t provide a good example or foundation for his son and then when his son became king, the kingdom was split, and the wealth sold off and squandered. Israel suffered greatly. The son never learned to live according to God. Therefore, we must actively work to ensure that our kids know Christ for themselves and also that they see a great example from us. This is how we help them from being lost in the world of Babylon.
Therefore, we must actively work to ensure that our kids know Christ for themselves and also that they see a great example from us. This is how we help them from being lost in the world of Babylon.
On the other hand, in the book of Esther the Bible tells us about the story of Mordecai who refused to bow or kneel before Haman, an official in the Persian Empire (Esther 3). This was important because Haman was the second most powerful official in the Persian Empire, after the King. Mordecai refused to bow to Haman because Mordecai only bowed in worship to God. He did this despite the risk of persecution for himself and the Jewish people in the kingdom. However, he was determined to stay true to his faith and purity of worship to God. As I read the story of Mordecai, I wondered if, although living in captivity, Mordecai’s parents taught him the importance of worship, honoring God, and faith. It was obvious that Mordecai had great faith in God and that he wasn’t willing to compromise his faith even in the face of danger.
Although, we most generally don’t have to navigate situations that extreme, we do have daily tests of our faith and our need to adhere to our principles. This is why there is an urgency to teach our children the ways of the Lord because so much sin and crazy surround them. Look at the opioid crisis, bullying, and suicide crises that is hurting the children nowadays. There is an urgency to hear and live by the Gospel of Christ. Therefore, it is up to you, as mothers, to teach them the way of the Lord and to be vigilant about what they are exposed to and talk to them about right and wrong.
Here are 5 things that you can do to help your children learn how to love God and with integrity.
Be Involved In Your Child’s Education
Do not leave education to your child’s teachers. Be an active part in what your child learns at school and what is going on in the hallways and classrooms at school. I know a mom who asks her children two questions every day after school:
- How was school? What did you learn?
- Did you learn, see, or hear anything that goes against the principles and values that we teach you at home?
It’s amazing what she learns just through those two questions. However, asking them gives her the opportunity to reinforce the lessons and principles of Christ that she wants them to learn and operate by. That’s just one of many stories that I have heard from moms who are concerned about what children are learning in school from the teachers and the other students. Therefore, be aware, vigilant, and watch for behavioral changes with your child. I spoke to one mom who after doing this decided to remove her child from the public school in her area to place her child in a different school that was more aligned with her values.
Evaluate The Type Of Television/Entertainment That Your Child Watches
I’m not saying that you have to raise children who aren’t allowed to have fun and then they rebel when they go off to school. But you have to practice discernment and allow them to access to age-appropriate entertainment. For example, does your 5-year-old need to watch the Kardashians or listening to rap music? Absolutely no! Also, do not be fooled with “age-appropriate” material. Always, watch the shows with your children before you allow them to watch the shows on their own (let them watch the shows that you have already seen and know are okay). I have seen children’s shows on some of the major networks that cater to babies and toddlers and I found the messages to be totally inappropriate. Some of the messages may have been subtle but it was a subtle attempt to influence and was not aligned with my values. Therefore, I didn’t let them watch it and found something that was appropriate, educational, and entertaining.
With that being said, you must realize that unfortunately there may be a time in your child’s life where the outside world will have more of an influence on them than you. That’s why you need to instill in them core values to evaluate right and wrong so even if they stray they will have a foundation to come back to. Hopefully, with those values, they can be like Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Babylon and know that God is in control and that they can live their lives for God. But, how you do this may be challenging because at the same time you must develop a relationship with them where your children know they can speak openly to you without judgment so they don’t sneak around and do the opposite behind your back or hang with friends who expose them to the stuff you don’t allow.
You must realize that unfortunately there may be a time in your child’s life where the outside world will have more of an influence on them than you. That’s why you need to instill in them core values to evaluate right and wrong so even if they stray they will have a foundation to come back to.
Know Who They Are Hanging Out With
“Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.” – 1 Corinthians 15:33
“Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared.” – Proverbs 22:24-25
I started this section off with these 2 scriptures because they show just why it is so important to know who your children are hanging out with. When I was growing up, I learned a heart-breaking story about a girl named Kemba Smith. She was a great student and great child, but at the age of 24 she was sentenced for participating in her then boyfriend’s illegal drug activities – no prior criminal record and she was 7-months pregnant. She got involved with the wrong person and it nearly ruined her life until she was granted clemency after spending 6.5 years in prison. I don’t want to scare you with that story, but there are real-world, real-life consequences if you hang out with the wrong people. Therefore, as a mother:
- Talk to your children to understand who they are friends with
- Know if they suddenly change friend groups
- Understand if they are having challenges with their friends
- Get to know their friends’ parents
- Be careful of who you allow your children to have sleepovers with
None of these things are failsafe, but doing those things will help you to understand who your child is hanging out with. Again, one of the keys is maintaining an open dialogue with your children, listening to them, and showing empathy. The book Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline is a great book to help you to learn how to do this.
Monitor Their Social Media Accounts
I don’t envy the kids growing up now and I’m so grateful that I know what it was like to be a kid without social media, cell phones, and conversations without all emojis. I feel old just saying that! However, although social media is a great way to connect with people, it’s also a way to connect with the wrong people, the wrong messages, information that isn’t age-appropriate, and cyberbullying. Therefore, you must understand how to communicate with your children about how to use social media appropriately and effectively. You must also understand what platforms they are on so you can help to make sure that they are using the platform safely, with integrity, and also respecting others. You don’t want to be an oppressive, jail guard about it, but you must be aware and proactive about understanding their internet and social media habits.
Watch The Messages You Send By Your Actions
Think of it this way: have you heard of the old saying, “Do as I say and not as I do?” Unfortunately, that doesn’t work because our actions teach way more than what we can say.
I overheard a cashier talking to a coworker about how she saw 10-12-year-olds dressing like 25-year-olds. They started to talk about one incident in particular where they say a girl dressed like she was 10-15 years older than she was, and then they looked at her mom and noticed that they were dressed alike. I overheard them saying that parents need to take responsibility to give their children a good example. I tried not to jump into their conversation, but when I heard that piece about parents setting a good example, I jumped in and we talked about why this is so important.
Think of it this way: have you heard of the old saying, “Do as I say and not as I do?” Unfortunately, that doesn’t work because our actions teach way more than what we can say. If our children don’t see us practicing what we preach then they may think that we are liars or hypocrites and it could influence how much of our advice they decide to take in the future. Therefore, it is imperative that we set a good example by studying the Word of God with our children, striving to model our behavior after Christ, keeping our word, and treating others with respect.
If you want more tips and resources, then check out this FREE grocery reduction challenge to help you to cut your grocery and takeout bill so you can have more money for the things you love! Click here to join the challenge!
Aisha Taylor is a single mom of twins, personal financial coach, work from home entrepreneur, and #1 Amazon Best Selling Author of the book “5+5 FNPhenomenal Ways to Save $100 This Week Without Killing Your Lifestyle.” Aisha has been featured in ESSENCE, Jet Magazine, and Black Enterprise. She is also the Founder of FNPhenomenal (Frugal –n- Phenomenal), a movement designed to help single moms create a vision for their lives, craft a financial strategy to support that vision, and show them that phenomenal living is possible. It’s time for you to be Financially Phenomenal!
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